The standard treatment for esophageal cancer is radiation therapy and the chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and carboplatin, followed by surgery to remove the esophagus. In this study, researchers want to see if adding the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) to this treatment combination is more effective for reducing the risk of cancer recurrence than the standard treatment alone.
Trastuzumab works by targeting a protein called HER2, which is produced in excess in some cancers, including some esophageal cancers. In this Radiation Therapy Oncology Group study, patients will be randomly assigned to receive the standard treatment, or the standard treatment plus trastuzumab given before and after surgery. Only patients with HER2-positive esophageal cancers can receive trastuzumab.